Policy Blog Post 10: Our House is a very, very, very fine house..

Choose from housing, homelessness, or food policy.  Trace historical roots (including at least 3 aspects or discrete pieces of legislation) and at least 2 current issues.

Happy Monday! I had a crazy weekend that was filled with 24 children in my 1700 square foot home, muddy shoes, water balloons, Nerf gun battles, a ripped trampoline, some kid getting shot in the eye, and another kid getting pistol whipped. It made for a great birthday party for my 10-year-old! Speaking of housing….

Let’s talk about how the U.S. government has tried to solve housing problems. We’ll start by talking about the 1937 Housing Act.

  1. Let’s be honest. We try to be the white saviors and end up dehumanizing folks. It’s not something that we should be good at, but dang, we’re SO GOOD AT IT. The 1937 Housing Act started out with good intentions. It wanted to rid the US of unsafe housing situations and slums. The US Housing Authority came from this. Everyone wants to feel like they are safe, right? The 1949 amendment to this act cleared slums and redeveloped the area into single-family homes. Half the homes were subsidized for low-income families.
  2. The 1954 Housing Act amendment strove for “urban renewal”. What does that mean? It means further slum clearance, removal of “urban blight” (what does that even mean??), and the avoidance of constructing public housing. Basically, if you were pushed out with the slum clearance, you couldn’t come back because you couldn’t afford it. Yay, progress! Remember, we’re rolling in on the Civil Rights Movement.
  3. It’s not all bad though! Let’s jump ahead to the 1976 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. This was an attempt to keep the banks honest (I’m laughing as I type that) and prevent redlining. What’s redlining, you might ask? Redlining was a practice by banks (it’s illegal, btdubz) that prevented the issuance of mortgages to families and business based on the racial or ethnic makeup of the area. It could be overt or covert through raising prices or property taxes. It still happens…anyhoo…
  4. Gentrification is a major problem across the country. We push minorities out by raising home prices and taxes around them in order to ‘raise up’ the neighborhood. Redlining is part of this.
  5. The current administration put Ben Carson in charge of Housing and Urban Development. Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon who has ZERO experience in this area. I’d say this is a significant issue.

I have more to say, but I’m out of time! Argh!!

EDIT: per the request of my professor, the song…

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